The goal is to synthesize long-term trends and large-scale changes in marine animal populations and ecosystems to add a temporal dimension to spatial patterns and short-term dynamics in marine populations and diversity. Long-term changes will include past trends of depletion and degradation, but also recoveries. Large-scale changes include shifts in spatial distribution patterns. Both will be accompanied by analyses of the underlying drivers and consequences of these changes in order to evaluate current and potential future trends in marine biodiversity. Finally, we will develop a modeling framework to analyze the consequences of biodiversity changes for food web structure and functioning today and in the future.
Data on trends in abundance, distribution, and diversity of marine species are
compiled for different ocean realms, of which estuarine and inshore areas have been
highly impacted in the past while open ocean areas will be increasingly impacted in
the future (grey bars reflect highest data availability in the present). Data are
from multiple disciplines to expand the temporal dimension into the past. The
resulting trends will be compared across species and realms, accompanied by
analyses of the multiple drivers and ecosystem consequences of observed changes.
The Census of Marine Life is a growing global network of researchers in more than 45 nations engaged in a ten-year initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life in oceans--past, present, and future.